Nurses discuss pandemic challenges during national week that honors them

Reporter: Veronica Marshall Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
icu nurse
Credit: Orlando Oliveros

The past year has been especially tough for health care workers on the frontline of the pandemic.

This week, we celebrated nurses and their dedication to the community.

Orlando Oliveros’s passion for health care started with his son.

“He was born very premature; he had a hole in his heart. And he spent seven months in the hospital,” Oliveros said.

The nurses showed his son such care and attention, so he knew he had to pay it forward.

“I felt like I had a duty to the community and to the things that I believe,” said Oliveros.

Now, Oliveros is a registered nurse and works at Gulf Coast Medical Center’s ICU.

He’s been on the frontline of the pandemic, which leads to tough decisions for his family.

“I have a son at home that is a little immunocompromised,” Oliveros said. “We sent him with his brother to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s house. And we didn’t have any contact with him for three months.”

“It has been a roller coaster of emotions,” Oliveros said.

Judy Lamdas is the Administrative Nursing Supervisor at Gulf Coast.

“After the fear sunk in, it was then ‘what do I need to do to care for our patients?'” Landas said.

Judy Landas, who’s worked at Lee Health for 25 years, says the stress and strain of the pandemic only strengthened her resolve to serve her community.

“I never thought about leaving. If anything, I wanted to see what more I could do,” Landas said.

“He was born during the swine H1N1 pandemic. And those nurses showed up to work, so why wouldn’t I show up to work?” Oliveros said.

For Oliveros, appreciating nurses is more than just a day or a week, it’s his mission.

Showing your appreciation for nurses doesn’t mean you have to buy them pizza, coffee or other gifts. He says getting a hello and being remembered as a person who cared for your loved ones is enough.

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